A Brief History of the Department
|Professor Charles Jenkin|
After the first world war the Department flourished under Jenkin and, from 1929, under Sir Richard Southwell. Although it remained small in size and in student numbers, it excelled in research and was in close contact with industry in several areas. After the second world war, Southwell having been succeeded by Professor Alexander Thom, it became clear that a small department taking about 30 undergraduates per year was no longer sufficient to meet modern demands and in the 1950s the University decided on a large expansion. By the end of the decade the colleges had begun to elect tutorial Fellows in engineering.
|Professor Sir Richard Southwell|
What is now the Thom Building was completed in 1963, also on the Keble Road triangle, by which time the Department was headed by Professor Douglas Holder; the Thom Building remains the principal focus of the Department's teaching activities and administration. In the 1970s the former Oxford power station at Osney (the area, just west of the city centre, mentioned by Chaucer), now the Southwell Laboratory, was acquired in order to house large experimental equipment.
By this time medical engineering had begun to be an important part of the Department's research programme, and one result was the Orthopaedic Engineering Centre at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Department, one of Oxford's hospitals. New buildings on the Keble Road triangle followed at intervals, including the Holder Building and the Engineering and Technology Building. The most recent addition, the Information Engineering Building was opened in 2004.
|Professor Alexander Thom|
|Professor Douglas Holder|
The Department of Engineering Science is now home to more than 600 undergraduates (over 20% of them women) in four Honour Schools, more than 200 research students, some 80 academic staff members (including visiting professors and research fellows) and many others working in research, technical support and administration. Its annual income from research grants and contracts alone is in the region of £5million. All undergraduate colleges in Oxford (with the exception of Merton, Queen's and St Peter's) admit engineering students and have at least one tutorial fellow in engineering.